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Turning Business Instinct into Business Intellect in the Creative Industry

When it comes to career paths, film has always been a focus for Evyenia Constantine ’15.

While she was studying film, media studies, and journalism from The New School in New York, she was also working at KaplaniKid Productions—an award-winning film production company founded by her mother, who earned her master’s and PhD at Northwestern University.

In terms of creativity and production, Constantine always trusted her instincts. When it came to business skills, however, she wanted to learn more about proven tools and strategies. She started researching master’s programs to accomplish this goal and discovered the MS in Leadership for Creative Enterprises program.

“I researched quite a few programs, but this was my top pick. Attending Northwestern University was a dream,” she explains. “I really liked this program’s strong focus on building leadership skills for the business side of the entertainment industry.”

After being accepted, she decided to do everything she could to make the most of the experience, taking advantage of each opportunity Northwestern offered: meet and greets, networking events with industry alumni, writing feature articles for the School of Communication, covering film festivals and events, and serving as an ambassador when her cohort traveled to Los Angeles and Silicon Valley.

“I put a lot of time, energy, and effort into the program, and it has been very fruitful,” she says. “It was a very rewarding experience.”

The blend of practical and tactical curriculum helped her take lessons straight to the field. In Adjunct Lecturer Cory Sandrock’s Economics of Creative Industries course, for example, she created her own business plan for a film project she was writing and working on.

“It was a very personal project for me,” she describes. “I think often about how much I learned from that process. I’ll never forget the trust and freedom the professor allowed me when I said I wanted to challenge myself and tackle the project on my own.”

She also relies on many of the lessons, principles, strategies, and tactics she learned in leadership and team management courses—especially as she navigated leadership through a pandemic. “Having those skills really prepared me to hit the ground running with total confidence once I graduated,” she explains. “I believe it taught me to be a compassionate and agile leader, and to always lead with integrity. There’s also lots of self-work within the program. You have to learn how to lead yourself before you can lead others. You have to know your own strengths and recognize the strengths of others. It takes a lot of thought, reflection, and intention to figure out who you are as a leader and what qualities, principles, and values you’ll bring to your future teams.”

In addition to her ongoing work at KaplaniKid Productions as co-owner, producer, and narrator, Constantine is also the head of social impact at Odyssey Impact. As a nonprofit multimedia organization, the company creates national social impact campaigns for documentary films. Its goal is to provide tools and resources to inspire positive community action that can lead to real change.

In Spring 2020, under Constantine’s leadership, the company was able to quickly pivot to offer new approaches that kept communities engaged with films and documentaries even though in-person screenings weren’t possible. “We had to find the best way to provide these experiences virtually, attempting to replicate what the in-person experiences were like,” she explains. “The leadership skills I built at Northwestern proved invaluable during that crucial time of transition.”

Next, Constantine plans to establish a social impact arm of KaplaniKid Productions, and she believes that her leadership skills will help make it happen.

“I’m proud to be a Wildcat,” she says. “Once you’re a Wildcat, you’re always a Wildcat—not only part of the MS in Leadership for Creative Enterprises program, but also across Northwestern University’s entire alumni network,” she says. “They’re incredible. You have a network you can tap into no matter where you are around the world. Choosing Northwestern University for graduate school empowered me and made such a difference in my life. I will carry the lessons I learned there with me, personally and professionally, for the rest of my life.”

Read more on our blog and follow Northwestern’s MS in Leadership for Creative Enterprises program on Facebook and Instagram.